If there's a city screaming out for cannabis legalization, it's New York. Thanks to the draconian cannabis regulations they have on the books—part of the legacy of the state's Rockefeller Drug Laws—getting popped smoking in public virtually guaranteed you a one-way ticket to central booking. (Which isn't as highly sought after as Hamilton tickets, as far as tourist experiences go.)
That's finally about to change, with 11-foot-tall NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio instructing the police to cease arresting people for public cannabis consumption, and to instead begin issuing them citations and a summons to appear in court. CNN reports this new policy will begin August 1, so those in the Big Apple might want to hold off on burning one down in public till then. The change is part of a broader undertaking by the mayor, who said:
“With marijuana legalization likely to occur in our state in the near future, it is critical our city plans for the public safety, health, and financial consequences involved. While I still have real concerns we must work through, it isn’t difficult to see where this is headed, and any responsible policymaker must prepare for that eventuality. My focus now will be helping to craft the critical regulatory framework that must come before legalization is realized.”This follows Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance stating last week, “The dual mission of the Manhattan DA’s office is a safer New York and a more equal justice system. The ongoing arrest and criminal prosecution of predominantly black and brown New Yorkers for smoking marijuana serves neither of these goals."
It's quite possible these actions were taken after "failing" newspaper the New York Times published an investigation last week showing that an insane number of people prosecuted for nuisance level public cannabis consumption were Black and Hispanic.